We wake up this morning in Okatoke, AB. Breakfast is great. We are hungry enough to walk into the nearest chain diner— and there is a big, smiling gent waving us to join him at his table. It's Gary, a fellow traveller we met yesterday when we were looking for a hotel. He's a special EFX guy who has done some major film stuff and also does training for the Canadian armed forces. In short, he enjoys blowing stuff up. Big stuff with plenty of flash and woof! And he's a great storyteller, so we enjoy breakfast in a big way. My face hurts from laughing. Gary picks up our breakfast tab. I hope our paths cross again. Our day is off to a great start.
We're going to take the back way north to the TransCanada Hwy, by-passing Calgary by cutting through the hills to the west. This means going back to Black Diamond and ducking south for a few minutes to pick up the secondary road we will use. I took this road last year with Big Dave, and it was a great ride— worth doing again. This road does not disappoint. Michael and I stop the truck a couple of times and hang out, soaking up the mountain views. Totally amazing. In 30 minutes not a single car or truck comes by. The smallest sounds are clear. There's ice on the river below. It's a beautiful day, and we're telling ourselves how lucky we are to be here in the middle of all this. As we drive we encounter Texas gates, open range, cattle and deer on the roadside. Eventually we get to the Big Road. The TransCanada Hwy. You know, it ain't so big for a road that stitches together a nation from one ocean to another. It's a small country, with a big land mass. There's still plenty of wild between points on the map. In more ways than one might imagine.
Today we're headed for Golden, BC. I've already heard from the promoter— due to the municipal elections our show has been cancelled. My old pal Bill Usher who had initially arranged the show has arranged for hotel rooms for us. This is a class act, a great thing to do. Now we are on holiday!!! That's right, folks, the National Steel Blues Tour has TWO days in a row with no shows, in the same place. It's an amazing drive up through the Kicking Horse Pass, and we arrive at Golden to stay in a motel in the shadow of the cliffs. We can see the trucks slowly working their way up the great pass, and others working their way down. I would not want to drive one of those rigs through here! OK, I'm a whimp. But really, you wanna drive a big rig through here you better know what you are doing. No kidding.
We can also hear the trains. The railways twist up and down around the road, or within sight of it, boring through the mountains— spiral tunnels near here! You sure don't want to be afraid of heights!
Michael and I check into the Rondo, two rooms, marginal internet, great views of the mountains. It's cold and crisp. I head out and run the river trails. I run way too far, but these trails are amazing. The air is clear and the mountains inspiring. I run up a bluff over the river and the rail lines. I'm gonna feel this tomorrow! It's an early night for us. Dinner at a nearby restaurant, and then a quiet time at our rooms. Through the wall I can hear Michael playing his mandolin. I'd rather be doing a show tonight, but this is not bad.